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Razer Phone Camera Review: Is this gaming phone a solid snapper too?

The Razer Phone may be geared towards gamers with its high-tech display, supreme performance and powerful audio, but how good is that dual lens camera? We’ve fully tested Razer’s first smartphone snapper and here we present our photo and video samples.

One of the most important features of any modern mobile is usually the camera tech. Pretty much every smartphone owner whips out their handset a few times a day, to shoot photos and home movies and share their lives with the world.

However, for the Razer Phone, the cameras could easily have been neglected. This 5.7-inch premium handset places a strong emphasis on gaming-on-the-go; unsurprising, given Razer is one of the biggest names in gaming hardware. As a consequence, the camera setup was almost breezed over in this phone’s launch, with more emphasis placed on the gorgeous screen and power-packed specs.

Still, if you’re spending £699 on a smartphone, you want the full package in return. And the Razer Phone’s dual lens camera certainly sounds decent enough on paper.

You get a similar setup to the Galaxy Note 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, with a 12-megapixel f/1.75 wide angle lens and a secondary 12-megapixel f/2.6 zoom lens sat side-by-side. These are switched between on the fly by the phone, depending on the type of shot you’re after. You’ll also find an 8-megapixel f/2.0 lens facing front, for capturing selfies.

We’ve taken the Razer Phone out and about in London to capture photos and sample video. Here’s what we think of the camera experience and the end results – and check out our in-depth Razer Phone review for our opinions on the rest of the handset.

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Razer Phone Camera Review: App and features

As the Razer Phone uses a pretty vanilla version of Android OS (with custom themes to change up the look of the interface), you also get a stock version of the Android camera app on board.

This will definitely suit anyone who wants a brain-free camera experience, as the simple interface is easy to get on with. All you need to do is point and tap the shutter button and your shot is taken pretty much instantly. You can also swipe the screen to jump into video mode, and that’s about as far as the ‘special features’ go. At the time of writing, there’s no slow motion mode, timelapse or even a panorama mode – although Razer has promised that features such as these will come in a future update.

As far as manual controls go, you can toggle the HDR mode and LED flash on or off and set a timer, and again that’s pretty much it. You can forget about full control over light balance and the rest.

Still, focus is quite fast thanks to the PDAF tech on board. That said, we noticed that the auto focus occasionally struggled when lighting conditions weren’t great, so you’ll need to take control and try to manually focus instead. Object tracking also falters compared with many rivals.

You can burst shot by pressing your finger on the shutter button, to take lots of action snaps in quick succession. This isn’t as fast as some rival smartphone cameras, although it’s always a good to have when trying to take a respectable shot of your hyperactive toddler or pet.

And if you find yourself wanting to take an impromptu action shot, you can open the camera app with a quick double-tap of the power button at any time. This even works when the Razer Phone is hibernating, usefully.

Razer Phone Camera Review: Photo quality

Our test photos certainly came out crisp and packed with fine detail. View them back on a big-screen monitor or TV and you won’t see any pixelation or haziness, even when the shot was taken with a slightly zoomed-in perspective.

With tricky contrast levels, the Razer Phone’s HDR mode helps to keep your photo’s lighting well balanced. However, there’s also some serious processing time involved when HDR is active (usually a couple of seconds), which meant we knocked it off for everyday shooting. For some unknown reason there’s no auto mode, which is rather baffling. And even without HDR switched on, our outdoor snaps generally came out fine.

Brighter colours really pop from the screen, with more vibrant than realistic reproduction. Shots of plant life tend to stand out, for instance, with a variety of lush hues on display.

The shutter action isn’t quite as fast as some rivals, so action shots occasionally suffer motion blur. Object tracking isn’t too smart either, so you’re best off taking stills.

Where the Razer Phone really stumbles is with low light shots. Our night snaps always suffered from grain and simply looked bad when viewed back on a big screen. The same was true with any photos taken around dark interiors.

Check out our Razer Phone photo sample gallery below.

Razer Phone Camera Review: Video quality

The Razer Phone is set to record movies at Full HD resolution by default, although you can bump this up to 4K Ultra HD in the camera settings. Either way, the results are workable but certainly not as strong as most other smartphones around this price point.

For instance, shooting in bright, sunny conditions often results in unwanted lens flare and adds a hazy quality to your footage. In extreme cases we also noticed some flickering of the visuals. Image stabilisation is okay at Full HD levels, but very limited when shooting at 4K resolution, so you’re best off standing still when recording Ultra HD footage.

There’s no option for 60 frames-per-second shooting either, for smoother results.

Check out our sample Razer Phone videos below.

Razer Phone Camera Review: Selfies

Above the Razer Phone’s display you’ll find an 8-megapixel f/2.0 aperture lens for those essential selfies. This does a pretty respectable job in a variety of conditions, even when snapping outside in quite strong brightness or under the glare of artificial lights. However, like the main camera, your photos will come out grainy in low light. There is a ‘screen flash’ feature, although it’s not much help.

That selfie cam has quite a fair viewing angle, although it’s not quite wide-angle for those all-encompassing group shots.

Check out a few of our test shots below.

 

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